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Stats Just Not It.

18th March 2007 By Munster Rugby

Stats Just Not It.

According to Benjamin Disraeli (though there is argument whether he actually coined the phrase or not) there are three kinds of lies; lies, damned lies, and statistics.

Forgetting about the actual source of the phrase but taking it at face value, it’s no surprise that  Irish coach Eddie O’Sullivan, according to Liam Heagney in his Sunday piece, isn’t a fan of statistics. Disraeli’s statement refers to the persuasive power of numbers and how they and accurate statistics can be used to substantiate inaccurate argument.

Looking at the statistics handed down by SAS Software after yesterday’s games, one can see where O’Sullivan is coming from.

Maybe it’s a question of education, of understanding them but we are asked to believe that the individuals who made the most errors included Brian O’Driscoll, Roland De Marigny, Simon Easterby, Shane Horgan and Italian centre Ezio Galon. And each of them made just the one error !

In the team stats, we see that Italian ‘Errors from kicks’ amounted to 3; ‘Tackles missed’ were 10. Yet when they give the ‘Overall Errors Made’ by Italy the total is 10 ! Maybe missing tackles is not an error. Can’t be, cause Mirco Bergamasco heads the list of ‘Most Missed Tackles’ with 2 but doesn’t make it onto the ‘Most Errors’ list.

The real goody is however, the one about ‘Minutes spent in Opponents Half.

In the first half according to SAS Software Ltd., Italy spent 20 minutes and 16 seconds in Ireland’s half of the field and Ireland spent 21 minutes and 36 seconds in the Italian half of the field. Fair enough. But according to them, there were 44 minutes and 53 seconds played in the opening half.

So where were the two sides for just over three minutes of that half ? 



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